ST. AUGUSTINE HISTORICAL RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION COMMISSION
P. 0. Box 484- 46 St. George St.
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA
Oct. 28, Nov. 1, 1963
A survey of the existing maps of the area all indicate a small structure
facing the street in this general area.
Puente's map of 1764 shows three structures facing the street, one on
each corner and one in the center. According to the Puente key, the total length
of the block is 78 varas. According to the official map of St. Augustine, the total
length of the block is 207.3'. By dividing varas into feet we come up with a con-
version factor of 2.65' equal 1 vara. Using this factor, we find that Puentels
lot 243 is 68.90t N-S, lot 2h44 is 71.55t N-S, and lot 238 is 66.25' N-S. The
present dimensions north-south of these lots are: lot 2h3--81.0'; lot 244--40.4t;
and lot 238--85.91. From this it can be seen that approximately 15.5' have been
taken from both sides of lot 244 to shrink it to its present dimensions. Because
the actual house locations on the Puente map are not accurate, it is impossible
to determine where the house stood. This house is characterized in the Puente
key as "a house of tabby of Manuela Alvarez de Santiago y Sotomayer."
Maps of the British period all indicate a structure in this general
area but it is not until the Rocque map of 1788 that more definitive information
comes to light. Rocquets description of this property (#187) is as follows:
House of wood in bad condition, of the property of Josef de Burgos, with Deed and
Land that it cites. Although the scales of the various copies of the Rocque map
vary, by using the same technique as that employed with the Puente key, we can
arrive at a usable conversion factor. In the case of this block the scaled length
of the block is 57.5 varas. By dividing into the present length of the block, a
conversion factor of 3.60' equals 1 vara is arrived at.
Using this conversion factor, it is seen that Rocquets lot 186 is 70.2';
the combination of numbers 187 and 188 is 72.0'; and number 189 is 66.6'. When
these measurements are compared with Puente's, a striking similarity becomes apparent.
Puente's #243 is 68.901, Rocquets 186 is 70.2', or a difference of only 1.3'.
Puentets #244 is 71.55t, the combination of Rocque's #187 and 188 is 72.0' or a
difference of .45'. Puente's #238 is 66.25', Rocque's #189 is 66.6' or a difference
Two exploratory trenches were excavated on this property during the week
of October 28, 1963.
Trench A began 32.0' south of the northeast property marker (3/4" pipe)
and extended in a westerly direction for 9$.0t. This trench was 3.01 wide except
at the west end where the remnants of a tabby floor were encountered.
Trench B began 6.0t south of the northwest property marker and extended
in a westerly direction 48.0'. This trench was 1.5, wide due to a concrete drive
to the south and a row of shrubs to the north.
Both trenches were extended to sterile soil; which averaged 3.0' below
-he present surface.
TRENCH A: The only historic building remains found in this trench were
a small segment of oyster-shell footing with two small blocks of coquina resting
on top and a portion of badly deteriorated tabby floor. The footing was encountered
4.6' from the east end of the trench, while the tabby floor began 89.0O to the west
of the east end. This flbor was approximately 6.0t east and west by 7.0' north
and south. There was no evidence of walls or post holes, however, the area had been
badly disturbed by both tree-root action and human gardening and any remains of
walls could easily have been lost.
Artifacts recovered are predominantly British in origin and consist
almost entirely of ceramics.
It would therefore appear that the tabby floor was associated with a
small outbuilding, probably constructed of wood. From the artifacts recovered, it
is safe to assume that the structure dates from 1770-1790.
TRENCH B: There was no evidence of any historic building remains found
in this trench.
When the cartographic evidence is combined with the archaeological
findings, we find that the shell footing found in trench A lines up nicely with the
south wall of Rocque's #187. However, Rocque describes the building as wood and
the footing with coquina on top would seem to indicate a stone structure, Three
possible conclusions may be drawn from this; one, that the footing found is simply
the remnants of Puente's #24h, which was a tabby structure; two, that the footing
and associated coquina block are the remains of a pier used to support the sill of
the southern wall of Rocquers wooden structure; and three, that it is a combina-
tion of both. Of the three, it would seem at present that the third is the more
plausible at this time.
Further excavation of the area, particularly under the concrete
walk could very well settle the question definitely.
The tabby floor found in trench A is obviously the remains of one of
several outbuildings shown on the British period maps.